Saturday, November 21, 2015

I wish I was on Ken Bruce (With rotation on Jo Whiley)

Sandi Thom's heart-string-tugging video complaining that she wasn't on Radio 2 got a bit overshadowed by events last weekend.

To be fair, 'Sandi Thom posts self-pitying video to Facebook' is the sort of story which would have been overshadowed by reports of a fifteen-minute delay to services on the Cambridge guided busway, so it's not surprising her pleas for fairness didn't get full attention as stories started to come in from Paris.

Thom has, in case you missed it, pulled a Status Quo, assuming she had some sort of divine right to be on Radio 2's playlist with her new single. Her birthright denied her, she has elected to stop making music (or, in other words, bring her life into line with the position we'd assumed she'd reached several years back):

“I am done with this industry. I am fucking sick and tired of having to sit on the edge of my seat waiting for these people to come back and tell me their verdict of whether this song is going to be a success,” she said in the video, which was later taken down from the social network.

"Honest to God I'm fucking sick to death of the bullshit this industry pulls on people like me and I've had it. Enough. I'm done.

"Fuck you Radio 2. Fuck you Bauer network and fuck the lot of you."
The suggestion that maybe she might try to make a better single next time seems to have passed her by.

Are Radio 2 being unfair? Not really; Thom hasn't released a single since 2013; she hasn't scraped the top 40 singles since 2006; and nobody's bothered to update the list of her albums on Wikipedia since 2012. It's not really Radio 2 saying that the new record won't be a success; it's the form book.

What's especially toothsome about this whole thing is that Thom was launched - well, relaunched - as a vanguard of How The Internet Changes Things, with those live stream sessions in her basement online years back. I say "her basement" - notably, the basement was constructed on the same backlot they used to fake the moon landings. But to go from sitting on MySpace disrupting the music industry to swearing on Facebook because the music industry has disrupted you back is the circle of life.

As you'd expect, Thom has received a backlash, some of which has been bullying and unfair, some of it fair comment. Thom seems vaguely surprised there was any response at all. She told The National:
“A lot of the people commenting were men and a lot of them, which is sad to me, were Scottish.
I'm not sure Thom really would prefer it if people who didn't like her came exclusively from Wales.
“It has been mad. I had to tell myself not to take a lot of it personally. I have been here before and I didn’t do anything to deserve it – it just feels like ‘round two, ding ding’. It’s tough for my family – my mum has really struggled with reading some of the things about me.
That must be hard, and - this being the internet - a lot of people went too far, too harshly, and too quickly. But...
Thom, who plays in London tonight, added: “I’m pretty outspoken, I don’t tend to teeter round the edges and smile in all the right places. It’s easier to say nothing than it is to speak out.
You can't, surely, put a video out telling the BBC, the commercial networks and "the lot of you" to get fucked, and praise yourself for being blunt speaking and unafraid to take a stand, while also complaining that people take a stand back at you, can you?
“I was called a brat – I’ve worked my arse off for years and these people don’t appreciate that. They don’t know about my life and how hard I’ve worked.
But this is, sadly, irrelevant. The guy who plays the drums night after night after night on a cabaret cruise liner is also working really hard in music, but that doesn't mean that Chris Evans should have him on the programme to drum. And if you're putting so much effort in, and not getting anywhere... well, it's harsh, but maybe you're wasting that effort?
“I don’t know how many people have messaged me privately and said they agree, but they won’t say it publicly. Everybody shoots the messenger.”
This is a lovely - the implication that there might be thousand upon thousand of secret Thom supporters, quivering in seclusion; uncountable even to Thom such are their numbers.

It might have been better if she'd not accidentally implied that she'd shot the people who had contacted her via Messenger, but let's set that aside and just breathe in that claim:

Everybody shoots the messenger.

This is often true; but it's a phrase usually used when a person has attempted to reveal something unpleasant but important. Thom seems to think that "waaah waaah Radio 2 won't play my song" is a communication on a par with the dangers of thalidomide, or the risk of global warming, or bullying in the Tory Party, or sexual misconduct in the Liberal Democrats.

She seems to be saying that the people who responded to her video by comparing her to Les from Creme Brulee are punishing her because the truth that Jeremy Vine won't be cueing her up to lead into a discussion of the Autumn Spending Review is a truth too harsh for us to look at directly.

Maybe time will prove her right.

(It won't.)